Friday, August 26, 2011

A 1966 Oldie for the 2011 DHS Reunion ~ Slim Whitman - I Remember You

Whitman (87) is a self-taught left-handed guitarist, is right-handed, but he had lost almost all of the second finger on his left hand in an accident. He worked at a Tampa shipyard while developing a musical career, eventually performing with a band known as the Variety Rhythm Boys. Whitman's first big break came when talent manager "Colonel" Thomas Parker heard him singing on the radio and offered to represent him. Signed with RCA Records, he was billed as "the cowboy singer Slim Whitman" and released his first single in 1948. He toured and sang at a variety of venues, including on the radio show Louisiana Hayride.

At first, he was not able to make a living from music and kept a part-time job. That changed in the early 1950s after he recorded a version of the Bob Nolan hit "Love Song of the Waterfall," which made it into the country music top 10. His next single, "Indian Love Call," was even more successful, reaching number 2.

A yodeler, Whitman avoided the "down on yer luck buried in booze" songs, preferring instead to sing laid-back romantic melodies about simple life and love. Critics dubbed his style "countrypolitan," owing to its fusion of country music and a more sophisticated crooning vocal style. Although he has recorded many a western tune, love and romance songs figure prominently in his repertoire.

Whitman had a string of hits from the mid 1950s and into the 1970s and became known to a new generation of fans through TV marketing in the 1980s. Throughout the '90s and into the 21st century, he has continued to tour extensively around the world and release new material. In 2010 a new album, called Twilight on the Trail, was released, produced by his son Byron and featuring the single "Back in the Saddle Again" plus many traditional western favorites that have become standards.

Whitman still lives at his home, Woodpecker Paradise, in Middleburg, Florida.


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